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a family of birds of the order Gruiformes. The body, which measures 12 to 19 cm in length, is compact. The neck is short, and the legs are strong and tridactylous; the posterior digit is absent. The wings are short and rounded. There is no craw. The plumage is brown and reddish; the back is spotted, thus camouflaging the bird in short grass. The males are smaller than the females and are less brightly colored.
The family comprises 15 species, which are distributed on the Iberian Peninsula and in the tropic and subtropic zones of Africa, Asia, and Australia. The USSR has one species, the yellow-legged button quail (Turnix tanki), which is found in the forest-steppes from Transbaikalia to southern Primor’e; it is a migratory bird (other Turnicidae are sedentary).
The Turnicidae are polygamous. They nest on the ground. There are generally four eggs per clutch (two in Turnicidae of the genus Ortyxelos). The male alone incubates the eggs (12 to 13 days) and rears the young. The Turnicidae feed on seeds and insects.